Skip to main content

George D. Cole to Walt Whitman, 13 November [1875]

 yal.00123.001_large.jpg Dear Freand​ Walt

I take the liberty to write you a few lines hoping to find you well as I am at present I hope that you will excuse me fore​ not writing to you before but you know how it is your self but I write you these few lines to let you know were​ I am Walt you know wat​ good times Petter1 and your selfe​ and me had together Walt how is Harry2 my Boy I hope that he is well I have wrote to him severl​ time and have not  yal.00123.002_large.jpg Receved​ no answer as yet but you must tell him that you have herd​ from me and give my love to him and take a good share fore​ your self give my love to all the Boys on the Rail Road as fore​ mr sailor3 tell him fore​ me to go to the D. and so forth Walt I want you to write to me as soon as you get this you must excuse my writing fore​ I am in a hurry tell Harry Parmenter to write to me so good by​

From your Freand​ George D Cole

Walt direct your letters to me George D Cole Tottenville Staten Island in care of Capt JW Sprague4  yal.00123.003_large.jpg how is old car no​ 29 my old car I have just come from Provedence​ . we had to put in to new london fore​ a Harbor fore​ it is a low Blowing a gail​ of wind I am a sailor now and have been fore​ a year she is a nice schooner you Bet


Walt I wr[torn away]5

Geo. D. Cole

George D. Cole was a former train conductor and a friend of Whitman's close friend and lover Peter Doyle (1843–1907).


  • 1. Peter Doyle (1843–1907) was one of Walt Whitman's closest comrades and lovers, and their friendship spanned nearly thirty years. The two met in 1865 when the twenty-one-year-old Doyle was a conductor in the horsecar where the forty-five-year-old Whitman was a passenger. Despite his status as a veteran of the Confederate Army, Doyle's uneducated, youthful nature appealed to Whitman. Although Whitman's stroke in 1873 and subsequent move from Washington to Camden limited the time the two could spend together, their relationship rekindled in the mid-1880s after Doyle moved to Philadelphia and visited nearby Camden frequently. After Whitman's death, Doyle permitted Richard Maurice Bucke to publish the letters Whitman had sent him. For more on Doyle and his relationship with Whitman, see Martin G. Murray, "Doyle, Peter," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
  • 2. Cole may be referring to Harry H. Parmenter (1843–1911), a clerk in the War Department in Washington, D.C., whom he mentions later in the letter. [back]
  • 3. As yet we have no information about this person. [back]
  • 4. John Wilson Sprague (1817–1892) was a General in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He was also a railroad executive for the Northern Pacific Railway and co-founded the city of Tacoma, Washington. [back]
  • 5. This partial phrase appears on the verso of the last page of the letter. [back]
Back to top